Chairman of Russia's State Customs Committee Mikhail Vanin and General Director of Finland's Customs Office Tapio Erling have inaugurated a new Imatra-Svetogorsk international car checkpoint.
The opening was a long-awaited one. In the place of the new checkpoint there used to be a pass which was used by Finnish specialists working in Svetogorsk. However, expanding cooperation between Imatra and Svetogorsk had long surpassed the capacity of the checkpoint with limited powers. The possibility of reorganizing the old checkpoint took almost 10 years of discussions.
The dragging out of the opening ceremony was caused by differences between Russia and the European Union, who had differing views as to how to equip the checkpoint. In the long run, Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov and his Finnish counterpart Paavo Lipponen met in St. Petersburg sorted the problem out during a meeting in St. Petersburg in June.
The cost of the checkpoint, which has a traffic capacity of 1,300 cars a day, amounts to almost 8 million euros. On Thursday and Friday, Vanin and Erling will meet in Lapland to discuss further customs cooperation between Russia and Finland.